Monday, 23 February 2009

Norway Diary, 25th October - 1st November, 2008

Arrived Saturday afternoon, cold and a blustery wind. Waited for hours, knackered, at airport, listening to different languages and marveling at the different types of chewing gum they have out here. The cafe had a glass roof and a tree growing in the middle of all the tables. 
Finally got bus to Hervick and met Yuli's friend, Clare, who took us to her guest house where we stayed the night. Stunning and very wealthy neighborhood! All the houses built out of wood, big, with big windows, surrounded by really tall autumnul trees. A whirl of rustling yellow leaves all around. And the guest house absolutely lovely, cosy, comfortable, would happily live there. Views of pine trees and the nearby fjord from nearly all the windows.


Sunday went to a market - indoors, full of brick-a-brack - a flea market sort of affair... Lots of china and ancient pieces of lace and bargaining Norwegians. Me and Kez wandered round but without money - though felt very bouyant without our huge rucksacks on, which we'd been carrying for miles around town. Sat by the river, waiting, getting frosty, watching the passing people and their dogs. Went and had absolutely huge lunch in trés posh café, warm, swanky, Café Del Mar soundtrack, about £10 for a salad... Then began the mammoth mission of finding our hut. Bus - walk - hill - heavy - lost - found a sofa - waited - cold - Yuli broke her ankle! SHIT. Hobbled up long, bumpy track regardless - nearly dark - couldn't find the key - locked out of the hut and it's cold. Found key! It was buried in the undergrowth. All in all, bad start. Managed to get in eventually but I felt tired, crap and homesick...


Monday was on and off too. Walked down to road, Yuli in pain, me and Kez finding Eloise difficult, me just freezing and wanting to be somewhere else... Got bus, taxi. Yuli to hospital. Rest of us had difficult day shopping with hire car. Very surreal actually, walking around this shiny and massive car showroom, given the situation... Gross pasty for lunch which made me feel bloating, groggy and sick. Dehydrated, headachey, urgh. Felt better after water and jazz pianist playing in the foyer of the shopping mall. Also, stole a trolly from the supermarket - surprisingly easy! Just walked out with it. Spent way too much money in the wool shop, probably bought an entire alpaca's worth. 
Yuli still at hospital so me and Kez went back to hut and had a lovely, relaxed, girly night together. Wine - knitting - worries - guys - love - life - cheesy music - plans - drugs - more knitting (we're actually addicted). "Just one more line...!" We'll knit when we're young and nimble, get completely fucked and take loads of drugs when we're old and it doesn't matter. Plan. Cosy - late to bed - pissing outside - stargazing - SO beautiful, clear crisp. We saw two shooting stars! One each :) Magic.


Tuesday we got up early for some reason, bustled about, nice + easy + chilled. The onflux of Eloise and Mette a scary prospect filling us with jitters. They arrived, picked us up, and the four of us - plus Yuli on crutches and all bandaged up - had a lurchy, nauseating drive to Folk Museum Café for salad. First impressions of Mette: vivacious, eccentric, obviously very beautiful in her youth - still beautiful now, but faded. Dark blue eyes and thick dark hair. After lunch me and Kez went round the Folk Museum outside, old peasant houses with grass rooves and thick wooden structures. Again, cold and crisp, sun, blue sky, everywhere yellows, browns and reds. Afterwards we browsed the shop and then Mette drove us on a tour around Oslo. Modern, glass, huge and captivating new architecture of the opera house - the sun makes rainbows in the glass and you can walk on the roof. Lots of traffic. Drove through the city, really really gorgeous parts which I wanted to explore. Wide and leafy streets, wintery people wrapped up in coats, bare trees, welcoming shop windows made me want to go shopping, crisscrossing tram lines everywhere - even through fountains! Lots of old buildings, a weird mixture of a European city vibe and a newer American feel. Wealthy, materialistic, but exciting. Want to come back one day to see the city properly. Then we went to the Gustav Vigeland sculpture park: words cannot really describe the atmosphere there. Beautiful dusky sky, and sun, and completely empty. The wheel of life, leading to the zodiac, leading to humanity. The statues were so powerful. Moving - humbling - beautiful - emotional. Vigeland seemed to have captured everything about is - age, love, conflict, nurturing, caring, progressing and regressing. It was all there and it just made me feel part of something. So captivating. I couldn't take a picture of one of them cos he was looking right at me, his expression was so real and like... Questioning? Judging? Watching? Equal? Inferior or superior? Or not anything, but it was somehow extremely powerful and stopped me from doing anything. I could have stayed there for hours, soaking it in, but we had to go because it was so cold. My favourite was a couple sitting back to back - they looked so connected.
Anyway, that was a really thought provoking experience, would love to go back one day. The evening was spent at Mette's very big, gilded, thrown together, German/English, leather sofa and chandelier filled house. Don't think her opinion of me improved as I couldn't finish my dinner. Rude little English girl. Plus Eloise said, audibly and rudely (I heard her from two rooms away) "... Oh yeah and Ella doesn't eat much, so..." Just as there was a lull in conversation where I was. We all heard it. Fucking bitch - so what? Christ I try my best around other people, but she doesn't know me, and sometimes it is difficult. I've mostly been ok this week, but that was horrible. Felt judged and put down and sick. Didn't set me up very well for the huge meal we had either. But y'know, who's she, I don't really know her and she doesn't understand anything so she can't know. So I tried to overcome that comment, but it struck me down a lot. Kezzie there to comfort me! She's also finding her hard to be around. 
After an intense and confusing Bridge lesson the three of us drove back to our hut for the night, Yuli stayed behind so she could rest.


I'm writing all this on Wednesday, not sure what time it is but it feels like early afternoon. IT'S FUCKING SNOWED! My holy mother of God, it's snowed. Woke up this morning to a thick, white blanket covering everything outside like a big, gentle, crystally Christmassy mountain duvet. So exciting and BEAUTIFUL! Jumped out of bed and went outside like an eager little forest dwelling elf to take photos and enjoy it's beauty. God I love it. This little hut feels even more isolated and cosy than before! Wish I could share this with everyone at home so much. There is literally a freezing ice white icing, snow on a cake, dusting all the trees, must be a good 6 inches on the ground... Our mushroom patch must be well and truly frosted. Me and Kez ran around and made snow angels and got really cold, but had fantastic fun :D Eeee! I love the snoooooooow... All the pine trees are ornated with it...
The rest of Wednesday took place back at Clare's - had a shower, forgotten how good it feels to be clean! Then Nick and Clare drove me and Kezzie back up to our private little house in the woods... Went tramping through the snow to find it. Little glowing window in the dark looked so homely! Finally the two of us had a bit of time to ourselves - we got extraordinarily tipsy of just THREE shots of (actually pretty lethal, evidentally) Norwegian spirit and had a very merry and hilarious evening. Also had a really long chat before the drink came out, which was brill to catch up with each other. Sounds like Kez has gone through some tough times recently :( Still - giggles, pop, sex chat, cocks, shroom hunting in the snow, cheesy music (again), photos, desperate searching round the house in cupboards and corners for more alcohol, teabag rollies made with herbs, munchies, candles, singing, cosy, merry, wanting to be more drunky - or smokey - or shroomy... Late to bed, happy and tired :)


Thursday was really chilled as didn't sleep well last night. Got up late - knitted all afternoon in warm comfort... Snow still fresh and thick outside. It's so peaceful and private up here - everything has got this tranquil, muffled quality, and the hut is even more cosy and welcoming. It's quite lovely to piss in the snow and look around to see yourself surrounded by pine trees and just an endless blanket of white! Uh oh - water in the tap ran out. Me and Kez thus had to exercise the old survival skills and melt pans full of snow for all our water, tasted absolutely rank - all vegetation and fermenting leaves and bugs. Mmmm... Anyway, so that was exciting, added to the experience! We did a photo shoot in the snow, many outfits and much posing - stunning backdrop of the pine forest - got some really good pics, 'twas great fun :) Kez standing there in her underwear in the freezing conditions - running inside to get warm. Nice lazy evening, more knitting by candlelight, chatting, laughing, music - both of us talking for hours about guys and, er, stuff... Hah, two horny straight girls strapped up a mountain, miles from human civilization - bound to realize how randy we are haha. >>cough<<>


On Friday we had to get up early and pack and sort the hut out etc, ready to leave. Both of us knackered - hadn't slept well. Had got up around midnight cos we'd been lying there in bed for hours not getting comfy. Munched enthusiastically, packed, wrote in visitor's book, back to bed... When we left in the morning we had to walk along the track - in the snow - with all our bags - cos the car which was meant to be picking us up had been halted by a fallen tree. Not impressed. However, quite a gorgeous walk though, crunching through the woods, blue sky and sun. Dropped our stuff back at Clare's - hung around for a bit whilst Kez and Yuli cleared the air between them. Feeling calmer we all went to the huge mall in Slovenvick (?) - retail therapy!! For hours! :) Got a bit tetchy - me, hungry and keen to get back for Hallowe'en rituals. The others had been roped into conversation with preaching Norwegian lady with a saggy face and grey mullet - "I'm sure Jesus will find you" - um, no. More delights in the amazing wool shop. Attractive blonde Scandinavian men all over the place.
Got back to Clare's, I carved our pumpkin with a blunt knife, a spoon and a lot of brute force. Wanted some witchy music but all I could find on the radio was awful chart "hits" and something like Classic FM. Sooooo, last meal with everyone plus Clare and Nick, pizza, salads, honey beer... Was a nice evening.
Then, me and Kezzie wrapped up warm and, packed with candles, matches, torch, chocolates for savouring, pens and paper and the pumpkin lantern, we walking through the frosty night down to the beach at the edge of the fjord. It was so magical and so beautiful. The water was completely still, like glass, not a breath of wind. We sat by the shore with our pumpkin and lit some candles, and looking out over the water, at the twinkling city lights, and all the shimmering reflections, and the stars and the darkness, we had a little pagan ritual of sorts.. Burnt what we want to leave behind and set afloat what we want from the future, in little paper flower boats, drifting away across the water. It was such a wonderful moment, standing together at the fjord's edge, watching our paper boats and sharing it all. Perfect hallow's eve celebration! And then we floated our candles out too - the little tealights - which was absolutely gorgeous. Four little flames slowly gliding through the stillness and the blackness. They casted wonderful circular shadows and beams of light under the water, too. And off they all went! We ate our chocolate watching it all. Really, such a lovely moment, will remember it all my life, I really love Kez so much! Very special time together all this week really, but especially on this night. We walked back before we saw any of the candles go out - by this point the water was covered in an eerie mist, which sort of smoked and drifted across the surface. Even more apt for hallowe'en.
Such a good way to spend our last night in Norway, I'm so glad it happened and I got to share it with Kez. X

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Daler-Rowney Pastel Paper (6 Assorted Colours)

I kept a diary whilst I went to Norway with Kesella last year, which I wrote in an old sketch book... though it ran out of paper, so had to write on the sheets of tracing paper which go between each page to protect your art from smudging. It's quite a nostalgic little book, I got it really young and it's full of my old drawings. One of some dolphins swimming by a shoal of red fish and seahorses. Pine trees in the snow and people sledging down hills (bit of a coincidence, seeing where I ended up - snowy Scandinavia). A pastel drawing of the elephant at Sands which I did on my last day there... I remember drawing it, it was a sunny day and I was sitting by myself under the magnolia tree, feeling kinda sad and serene and tranquil.
ANYWAY.
That is going off topic.
Point is, I'm gonna write up my Norway diary on here, just so there's a more permanent record of it really, but if you'd be interested in reading it that's a bonus :) Would love to do more travelling in the future... Rome, Paris, Venice, Florence, Oslo, New York, Amsterdam, Barcelona (again)... There's a wholleee woooorld out there! Totnes feels very small sometimes.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

"The dangerous dust of desires"

... Quoteage from Buddha's Teachings, which I just found on the bookshelf, and is really interesting :) I love the sound of that quote very much, it's just... yeah. Beautifully poetic. Wish I'd written it! Or could write like that :/